When it comes to Chinese food there isn’t exactly a lack of choice pretty much anywhere these days.
Eateries range from the bad to the sublime across the North-east – but thankfully the latest I visited, the Manchurian on Causewayend, is at the upper end of the scale.
If you’ve never been to the Manchurian, the initial signs as you arrive are all positive.
The building the restaurant is in stands out from the outside with an Oriental feel.
Inside things don’t really change although like a lot of Chinese places it is nice, welcoming but pretty basic in decor, and we were quickly shown to a table at the back of the restaurant by the polite waiting staff.
It was a week night and the eatery was busy – there were very few free tables, which is always a good sign.
Being so busy the restaurant had a nice atmosphere, it almost felt bustling but also relaxed.
Not sure what we want it took a few minutes to scan the menu and settle on our order – there was far too much that sounded too good to make a snap decision.
Eventually we made our picks and for starters – as is becoming a habit for these reviews – we punt for a sharer platter (£6.80 per person) to give us a good overview of the restaurant’s grub.
About ten minutes later our large plate of food arrived.
The starters provided us each with spare ribs, wontons, satay chicken, prawn toast and Thai spring rolls. Nothing on the plate disappointed, but there needs to be a mention for the satay chicken which came with the best peanut satay sauce I have ever tasted – it was just delicious.
In all honesty the dish made me glad the restaurant doesn’t home deliver – such a service would be catastrophic to my already-expanding waistline.
For our mains we opted to share a portion of honey and chilli chicken (£9.50) and shredded crispy chilli beef (£9.50).
Alongside our main dishes we has noodles and egg fried rice.
The first thing that struck us as the food arrives at the table was the portion sizes – there was more than enough for two … and of course we had ordered prawn crackers as well.
The second to hit us was the aroma and it was mouthwatering.
Our waiter scooped some rice on to our plates and we were good to go.
The honey and chilli chicken was delicious, one of the best Chinese dishes I’ve ever tasted and the shredded crispy chilli beef wasn’t far behind.
As for the rice and noodles both were perfectly good and were a great accompaniment to the mains … there’s not much more can be said about rice and noodles.
For the first time in a long time when I’ve been out for a meal we left food on the table – easily enough to feed a third person.
Given that we didn’t even ponder the dessert menu – again a first when I’ve been reviewing a restaurant.
When the bill arrived I must admit I was pleasantly surprised the figure was south of £50 – turns out the Manchurian is good value for money as well as delicious.
We’ll certainly be back to the Manchurian and if you like Chinese food I can’t recommend enough that you give it a go.
Despite not doing home delivery, it is worth noting the restaurant does do takeaway.